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York is a scenario in Age of Empires II: The Forgotten, part of the Battles of the Forgotten. The player takes command of the Vikings of Ragnar Lodbrok's sons who arrive on the British Isles to avenge the death of their father against Ælla of Northumbria, also known as the Great Heathen Army.

The scenario has a ludicrously-sized map portraying the entirety of British Isles including Great Britain, Ireland and Isle of Man. Due to the enormous map size and a large number of units (the population limit is 200 and there are seven opponents), this may be the most demanding scenario in the whole game, so it is a plus to have a computer with a strong CPU.

Intro[]

Shouts of assent ring around the hall as the sons of Ragnar finish speaking, and ravens fly upwards, eager to bring good tidings to the Aesir. Moments later, the sky flashes with lightning and booms with thunder, signaling the approval of the gods.

Days later, the mustering begins. Kings, jarls, warriors, and common folk alike gather, eager to seek vengeance on the Northumbrian king Aella for the dishonorable slaying of Ragnar. Ivar, one of Ragnar's sons, has sworn to carve the blood eagle on Aella in retribution.

Ragnar's sons approach a small band of warriors with a dangerous but important quest: to scout the British Isles and establish a camp. When the army arrives, it will need a secure base from which to strike out against the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that dominate the British mainland.

Thor is pleased, for the seas are benign and the winds favorable, allowing the longships a serene passage across the North Sea. As they near York, the seat of Northumbria, the sound of the sea mingles with the grinding of axes. Skalds eagerly prepare to craft the verses for a saga that will be passed down until the end of time.

Shouts of approval rang around the great hall after the sons of Ragnar finished speaking. Ravens flew upwards, eager to tell the Aesir of the good tidings, no doubt. Moments later, the ravens called down and the sky flashed with lightning and boomed with thunder, signaling their approval. Reveling in the favor of the Gods, the immense crowd of warriors began a feast.

Days later, a mustering began. Kings, Jarls, Huskarls, Berserkers, and common folk alike had gathered, all answering the call of Ragnar's sons. Great and proven warriors they were, and eager for vengeance for the dishonorable slaying of Ragnar by the Northumbrian king Aella. Ragnar's son Ivar has sworn to carve the blood eagle on Aella in retribution for his actions.

The scene of preparation for the departure of the army was quite a sight to behold. Hundreds of longships assembled with full crews of good Norsemen, and enough supplies were loaded on board to last the army months. The best of all the Northlands, preparing for the great battle of their Age. Odin's hall would soon be swelling with new warriors, for his Valkyries would no doubt be eagerly observing the campaign.

Ragnar's sons approached a small company of the warriors gathered with an important quest - to scout the British Isles and establish a camp suitable for the army to use as a base from which to attack the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. As a skald, I was tasked with doing what I have always done - recording the great exploits and triumphs of my fellows and compiling a saga that will be passed down from generation to generation.

Thor was pleased with us, for the seas were benign and the winds favorable, allowing our five ships a serene passage west from Scandinavia. We had knowledge of four great Anglo-Saxon kingdoms - Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, and Wessex. York, the seat of Northumbria, was our target, but it would be imperative to avoid being spotted and keep the element of surprise. Even after making camp, we would need to await our army.

Scenario instructions[]

Starting conditions[]

Objectives[]

Main[]

  • Construct a camp - build a Town Center at any one of the 5 campsites (marked on the map by flags).
  • Continue building up your base and await the arrival of the main army.

The main army has arrived! Choose one of four paths to victory:

  • Destroy the palace in the Northumbrian city of York and replace it with a temple to Odin (Wonder) of your own.
  • Capture 15 Relics and place them in your Monasteries.
  • Accumulate a sum of 50,000 gold - weregild for Ragnar's death.
  • Defeat 5 of the 7 enemy factions scattered across the British Isles.

Secondary[]

  • Instead of founding a camp at one of the unoccupied locations, you could attack the Monastery at the Isle of Man (marked by a flag) and set up your camp there.

To acquire additional gold:

  • Destroy enemy Markets, Monasteries, Town Centers, Cathedrals, and Wonders.
  • Capture enemy Relics and garrison them in your Monasteries.

Hints[]

  1. The Viking forces can support a population of 200 and rely exclusively on their fearsome longships for battle at sea. As this is the 9th century, gunpowder units are also unavailable.
  2. Avoid the local coastal settlements (marked on the minimap) when initially searching for a campsite - their defenses are too strong.
  3. There are five possible campsites (marked by flags on your minimap) - 3 in Scotland, 1 on the Isle of Man, and 1 in Southern Ireland, each with different strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Build up your defenses - your foes will notice the arrival of the main army and subsequently attempt to wipe out your main camp.
  5. Each Christian village, town and city with at least one Monastery is house to a holy Relic, for a total of 23. Destroying Monasteries, Markets, Town Centers, Cathedrals, and Wonders will grant you varying sums of gold in loot.

Scouts[]

Your scouts report:

  • The vanguard of the Viking army has finally reached the British Isles, with the task of scouting the region and finding a location to establish a camp.

The British Isles are inhabited by several potential adversaries:

  • In the northeast, York, the heavily fortified capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria (2, Yellow) is the principal target of the Viking army. Northumbria trains infantry, cavalry, and Monks, and also has a navy.
  • The vulnerable Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia (3, Orange) lies to the east. Its forces are composed of swordsmen, archery units, and ships.
  • The formidable Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia (4, Blue) dominates the center of the map. Mercia trains ranged units and cavalry.
  • Located to the southeast, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex is by far your most dangerous adversary. Wessex relies on a variety of infantry units and has a sizeable navy.
  • The Briton, Scottish, and Welsh lords (6, Green) ruling much of the land in western Britain command fearless armies of infantry and javelineers as well as a handful of ships.
  • The Northern Irish Kingdoms (7, Purple) lie in the west of the map. Their forces consist of infantry, siege units, and warships.
  • The Southern Irish Kingdoms (8, Grey) control the southwest portion of the map. They field armies of cavalry and infantry, and have begun the construction of a navy.

Players[]

The player's starting forces include a few Villagers, two Berserks, two Huskarls, a Throwing Axeman and a Jarl, to the northeast of the city of York.

The two Transport Ships that ferry the landing party are also escorted by three Longboats.

All the seven realms featured in-game are set to be enemies. It is not possible to change the diplomatic stance with them and as such, they will be sorted according to the geographic area to which they are sited.

England[]

  • Mercia (Britons) - The Kingdom of Mercia controls central England, and borders with Northumbria to the north and Wessex to the south. Also controls (quite erroneously) Wales. It has the highest score among opponents. They are at war with the Irish kingdoms of Ui Neill and Munster.
  • Wessex (Goths) - Wessex controls the entirety of south England and Cornwalls, and borders with East Anglia and Mercia. It is the second strongest kingdom in this scenario and the only one in Great Britain attacking unprovoked.
  • Northumbria (Celts) - Controls north England, including the namesake city of York, found to the south of the player's starting position. Borders with Strathclyde to the north, Mercia to the south, and East Anglia to the southeast.
  • East Anglia (Britons) - A minor realm that controls the namesake region of East Anglia, to the southwest of the city of York. Borders Wessex to the south, and Mercia to the west.

Scotland[]

  • Strathclyde / Britons, Scots, and Welsh in the Definitive Edition (Celts) - Controls the entirety of Scotland. A weak player and one of the two enemies to begin in the Feudal Age, rather than in the Castle Age. However, in the Definitive Edition, this player also controls Cornwall and Wales. Just like Mercia, they are at war with the Irish kingdoms of Ui Neill and Munster.

Ireland[]

  • Ui Neill / Northern Irish Kingdoms in the Definitive Edition (Celts) - A famous Irish dynasty, they control north Ireland, as well as a Monastery in the Isle of Man, that is guarded by a Monk, six Spearman, two Militia and two Skirmisher. Notable for starting in the Feudal Age, like Strathclyde. They are at war with Munster, Mercia, and Strathclyde.
  • Munster / Southern Irish Kingdoms in the Definitive Edition (Celts) - The second Irish realm to appear on this map, it controls most of south Ireland. They are at war with Ui Neill, Mercia, and Strathclyde.

Strategy[]

Starting position[]

The player starts with a small landing party, and the objective is to build a base. This can be done anywhere, but it's wise to choose a spot that can be defended properly but has options for expansion. The Isle of Man has the advantage of being an island and granting a free Castle upon destroying the Monastery located at its center (though landing parties can be a problem), but it doesn't have many resources. A base in the south of Ireland or on the north of Scotland may be harder to defend at the start, but better in the long run, especially when the player can secure an enemy Market and use it for trading.

As soon as the buildings given in the objectives are completed, the player must wait 15 minutes, then 40 Elite Longboats will join them. Make sure to build enough Houses before the fleet arrives in order to maintain unit creation in uninterrupted flow.

Note: In the Definitive Edition, there is no building construction objectives. The moment a Town Center is completed, a timer will begin after which the fleet will arrive.

After that, the objective to win the game will be to fulfill either of the following:

  1. To take vengeance on King Aella and prove the superiority of the Norse Gods, destroy the palace in the Northumbrian city of York and replace it with a temple to Odin (wonder) of your own.
  2. Capture 15 relics and place them on your monasteries. (there are 23 in the map)
  3. Accumulate a sum of 50 000 gold- weregild for Ragnar's death.
  4. Defeat five of your seven enemies (Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, Wessex, Strathclyde, Ui Neill and Munster).

Tactics[]

Since the opponents may become more aggressive after the main army arrives, it may be wise to wait with building a Barracks. Actually this may not be necessary, since the (Elite) Berserks from the castle are much better. In this case, the player will have to do without Squires, but that is a very minor disadvantage. Without building a Barracks, the player can also circumvent the objectives: if they want to conquer the whole map in a slow and bloody way, they would be winning prematurely e.g. by hitting the 50 000 gold mark relatively soon.

The fully developed Elite Berserks are well suited to send out on raids because they heal by themselves and are strong against everything. Ships can also wreak a lot of havoc, because there is not only a long coastline but they can also sail inland on many rivers. Though Cannon Galleons are not available (that would really make it too easy), a pack of Elite Longboats is well suited to harass the enemy coast heavily. Nevertheless, enemy bases boast different degrees of fortification and will be defended by at least a pair of towers, so take those down first or support the raids by land.

Some enemies are at war with each other, so they will slowly destroy some buildings that will generate gold for the player.

Definitive Edition[]

In the Definitive Edition, this scenario becomes easier, since most enemies do not attack unprovoked. Choose the closest campsite to the starting location. Task one Villager with building three Houses and the other three with building a Town Center near the Forage Bushes and the Mines. The player should focus on booming and getting a strong economy. The only enemy which will attack the player is Wessex, with both ships and land units. When in the Castle Age, build a Castle near the shore to sink Wessex's ships and another south of the player's base. Do not forget to research all useful upgrades. Wessex will eventually attack with Elite Huskarls, Capped Rams, and Trebuchets, so the player should train some Berserks for protection. At the same time, send the Elite Longboats on raids as they will easily destroy any Towers and buildings (avoid fighting enemy Castles though). Destroying a Market/Monastery/Town Center/Wonder will give the player 700/1,000/2,000/6,000 gold, respectively. Bring a Transport Ship with a Monk as well to pick up any Relics that were inside destroyed Monasteries (otherwise they will be picked up by enemy Monks again).

Since this scenario can be quite demanding to the player's computer, if may be a good idea to finish it as quickly as possible, and the best way of doing so is by destroying the palace in York and building a Wonder at its site. When the player reaches the Imperial Age, they should train a big army of Elite Berserks (their high attack and regeneration are very helpful) and Trebuchets and attack Northumbria. Despite the high score suggesting otherwise, Northumbria, like all other enemies, does not train many units (their score mostly comes from the many buildings, especially Castles, that they have) and so they should be easy to defeat. When most of Northumbria is destroyed and it is safe to do so, bring the Villagers to build the Wonder, using the Berserks to protect them.

The remaining victory options are not more difficult, but will be more time consuming. If the player is going for the Relics/conquest victory, they will most likely reach the 50,000 gold sum before they manage to fulfill any of those two main objectives. However, if the player wishes to fulfill any of those two objectives before reaching the 50,000 gold, they can "waste" the gold on Spies (it costs 30,000 gold) and unnecessary technologies (such as Monastery ones) and buy resources in the Market to prevent themselves from getting 50,000 gold.

Outro[]

Favored by Odin and Thor, the Vikings watered the ground with the blood of their enemies, seizing vast amounts of plunder and fertile land. The stench of smoke and death filled the air as hapless victims foolishly turned to their altars instead of their swords.

The haughty Anglo-Saxons met their match at the hands of ruthless Viking warriors eager to earn their place at Odin's tables. True to their word, Ragnar's sons carved the blood eagle into the back of the cowardly Aella as a warning to any who might think of opposing them.

Ragnar's sons settled the land that they had conquered, eventually establishing a state known as the Danelaw. For the next two centuries, Dane and Saxon would live as neighbors, sometimes at war, sometimes in peace, until the Saxon victory over the Norse at Stamford Bridge in 1066 foiled the last Viking invasion of England.

Odin and Thor have willed us to glorious success. Over the past several months, I have seen more gold, more riches, and more carnage than I could possibly have dreamed of. The smell of smoke is still inundating to say the least - these people surely must think that they have been struck by the hand of the God that they have tried to force on us time and time again. Our gods are stronger.

True to their word, Ragnar's sons carved the blood eagle on the back of the cowardly Aella as a warning to the Northumbrians and laughed at the knowledge that Aella's weakness doomed him to eternal scorn in Nifilheim, for Odin has no place for cravens. The haughty Anglo-Saxons have met their match in our glorious force, for we have easily cut a broad swath through their land.

The treasures we have seen are without equal, and the land is fertile and rich. With the locals all but conquered, I think we will stay here a while. Ivar, Bjorn, Sigurd, and Ubbe all desire to carve out kingdoms in this fruitful location, and I am excited at the prospect of continuing to chronicle their deeds. I do believe that I have come up with a fitting title for this legendary saga - The Tale of Ragnar's Sons and the Age of the Vikings.

Trivia[]

  • Oddly enough, Mercia also controls Wales. This is highly erroneous, as the region was rather dominated by Brythonic/Welsh kingdoms, such as Gwynedd. This is possibly because the scenario's player slots is full and can't add anymore players for Wales.
  • The fact Wessex is represented by the Goths rather than the Britons may be a reference to the Hastings scenario, where the Anglo-Saxons are represented in turn by the same civilization.
  • The Wonder of the Vikings is referred to as a temple of the Germanic/Norse god Odin, but it's based on a (Christian) church.
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